Vedfield Bossman continued on his merry winning way in the semi-finals of the Barber Kennels Tri-Distance at Dundalk Stadium on Friday night, bringing his unbeaten run to six.
Michael Doyle’s Togher-based runner was taking in his first 550, and he did it in style, leading throughout. But he was coming back to the field in the latter stages, and the big question leading into this Friday’s final is: can he see out the 600?
Owner Doyle has done a magnificent job since taking charge of the son of Droopys Vieri. Six wins from seven outings is a record that stands the closest examination. The clocks have been good, too – a best-ever 28.56 for the standard distance and 30.32 on his most recent outing.
That time, however, was bettered by Ballyer Eclipse in the opening semi-final, the Dublin dog recording 30.26 on his way to causing a 5/1 surprise.
It all makes for a very final, with the likes of Messan Motion and Gorey Misty, along with Ballyer Eclipse, certain to be big players. There’s a prize of €1,200 for the winner.
Gorey Misty, owned by former Tyrone senior football team joint-manager, Art McRory, in partnership with his brother, Jim, finished second behind Vedfield Bossman. He was well back early on, but made significant progress in the home straight to be beaten by just one length. He’s one who could benefit from the 600 yards, the distance over which the final is being run.
Messan Motion, Puddens Lad and Ushers Tim were the ones punters most wanted to be on in the first semi-final, the first-named going off favourite on the strength of a speedy quarter-final win.
But like most of the others, Gordon Haslett’s runner got caught up in an early tangle, and was always playing catch-up behind the trouble-free Ballyer Eclipse.
Messan Motion closed to within three lengths without ever having likely good to overhaul Alan Nulty’s runner. Speedhunter took the third qualifying spot, five lengths off the runner-up.
The Gourmet Island 525 competition got underway at the Stadium on Saturday night, and the outstanding performer in the six heats was Valeries Courage, trained on the Cooley Peninsula by Peter Noone.
The Co Meath-owned runner was chasing a first win on his fifth outing and was quoted at 6/1. But he belied his odds in impressive fashion, going off fast from four and staying on well to hold the late challenge of the warm favourite, Royal Raven. The time for the race, 28.80, wasn’t bettered at the session.
A prize of €1,440 goes to the winner of the competition, and second round heats take place this Saturday night.